Thursday, March 9

Parking Hierarchy

To most people parking choice is a matter of convenience. You park where it's nearest the entrance of the mall or Dodger Stadium or work to minimize travel. This behavior is almost instinctive especially with men. Conversely people that drive distinctive vehicles such as BMW's or Benz's or even high end Japanese and American cars tend to distance their cars from the regular cars. They don't mind the half-a-mile walk to the front door and i don't blame them because cars costing 70K or more are more than just vehicles of transport unless its a Jaguar which is really just a Ford adorned with Jaguar logos and plush leather... This behavior is most pervasive in my observation at my job's expansive parking lot. There is an unspoken rule, an invisible sign that explicitly reads "Must be 70K or above to park here". There is an Exec who actually has got a reserved parking spot near the front entrance of the building which remains unoccupied because his big black S500 is parked in the high rent district almost a full block away. Perhaps he's afraid some regular guy God forbid with a Honda who's running late for work slams his rusty door on his pristine Benz...

In the same lot is a 2003 Roush Mustang . Those of you not familiar with Roush it is a company founded by renowned road racer Jack Roush a former Ford Motor Company employee and now Nascar team owner. These are special race tuned mustangs complete with a supercharger, interior upgrades with racing seats, special tires, special paint and Roush emblems. This special car unconventionally is a daily driver. Poor car. And for redundancies sake here are a list of other cars in that lot... a candy red 2000 Viper, 2006 Corvette ZO6 no less, my favorite BMW the mighty M3 etc etc...

Today one of the other Filipino guys at work excitedly approach me to show a picture he had taken from his cell phone. Check it out Marc its your sport car he said almost shoving it in my face. In his cell phone was a picture of a 2006 Lotus Elise and in the background was the black S500 mentioned earlier. Was this taken from the parking lot outside i frantically asked.

... 1 minute later i was trotting towards the car. I'd only seen one of these on the highway doing about 95 (... a yellow one with racing stripes). The car is radical in design. It doesn't have the supple curves and the beautiful shape of a 911 Porsche or the racy figure of a Ferrari but boast a ultra lightweight hydro formed aluminum chassis weighing less than 2000 lbs. The motor is provided by Toyota a 1.8 liter high-revving power plant producing 190 horsepower. So what the hell is so special about the car you might ask... Without getting too technical its configured the same way Indy, Lemans prototypes and the pinnacle of racing Formula 1 cars... mid-mounted engine. Still confused? This simply means the engine is not located in front of the car but right smack dab in the middle hence: mid-mounted engine. This is the optimal configuration for cars that want to go road racing. The balance and weight distribution is perfect making it ideal for the tracks.

To name a few of these mid-mounted wonders. The Enzo, 430, 360, 330, F50, F40 Ferraris, pretty much all the Lamborghinis, the former fastest production car Mclaren F1, the fastest production car Bugatti Veyron and the almost affordable Porsche Boxster...

One of the company guards cruising the lot in his golf cart joined me as i stood in awe in front of the aluminum bodied Lotus. Thats Dennis's car he said (who is out site network admin). Apparently Dennis got rid of his Escalade for this tiny boy-racer-like Lotus. Wow talk about an intrepid car change... i wonder what the wife said?

I came back into work after drooling on the car for a few minutes raving about the car. I annouced that it's Dennis's car. A lot of the guys were ambivalent. Perhaps unfamiliar with cars especially ones manufactured in small numbers such as the Lotus Elise. How could he afford a such an expensive car referring of course to the V-8 twin-turbo Lotus Esprit one guy inquisitively asked. Being the car lover that i am i felt inclined to explain. The base price for the car is $39K (without options) a price which is not exactly a bargain but the right price for the car. It goes without saying the car isn't practical for daily use. Its too small the interior too loud on the highway and the ride too harsh (no power windows even). You can even order the car without airconditioning... i mean who needs AC when your doing 125 mph on Willow Springs going into turn 1??

One of the guys here who is an avid car magazine reader like myself crassly commented that the car is ugly and too small that he would rather get a BMW M3. How could someone who reads all the same car magazines i read Automobile, Car and Driver and Motor Trend be so clueless? Yes i would rather get an M3 myself but what he failed to recognize is that cars serve a purpose. His car for example is a 2004 Toyota Camry LE. Takes him to work daily dropping the kids off to school on the way. It also serves as their weekend family getaway car... His wife on the other hand drives a 2004 Honda Civic coupe. These cars do exactly what they're built to do and they do it well. The small mid-engined Lotus Elise weighing under 2000 lbs is best served and behaved on a race track. Its a street-legal car specially made for the tracks just like the Porsche GT3 and the lightweight BMW M3 CSL. Thats why you never really see them on the local roads to begin with...

But anyway Dennis the Site Administrator has a Honda Civic for a daily driver and now has this nice weekend car. I only hope the car makes it to the tracks some day... even only for timed runs.

1 Comments:

At 11:18 AM, Blogger zenmasta said...

I'd settle for a Kawasaki tricycle with spinners...

 

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